I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Your bestie has done it. Heck, even your boss’ third cousin has done it. After one straight-up smashing date, you eagerly text your entire squad who, naturally, has been anxiously awaiting to hear every last detail. Three hours ago you knew next to nothing about this person — now, you’re RSVPing with a plus one to your sister's wedding and plotting out your couples Halloween costume. Can a good date lead to a relationship? Sure it can — but the simple truth is that it’s impossible to predict with certainty.
It’s pretty amazing how quickly we adopt this powerful conviction after a date goes well. And there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's safe to say that optimism is key for surviving in the unpredictable world of dating because it makes us resilient. So, NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter says it's totally normal to feel elated after a phenomenal date, and there’s no shame in getting a little carried away.
“How many times have you heard a friend excitedly talk about the amazing chemistry, connection, and shared goals they experienced their date?” she tells Elite Daily. “Their hopes and dreams come alive under the belief that they've found their perfect match. Then, it all evaporates.”
According to Winter, one of the main reasons why you may fall into this trap is that you make assumptions about who someone is when in reality, there’s still a lot you don’t know about them — both good and bad. What makes it even more challenging to get an accurate read on your possible future with someone is the fact that people tend to put their best foot forward on the first few dates.
So, while your date might seem incredibly charming and polite off the bat, it will take time for you to catch a glimpse at the idiosyncrasies, habits, and opinions that could possibly be deal-breakers. What if your date doesn’t believe in marriage or doesn’t want to have kids, and either or both are significant goals of yours? What if they plan to vote for a candidate whose mere existence is a personal affront to you? And what if, when it comes to sex, you have totally different preferences and turn-ons?
That’s not to say that you can't overcome some of these differences with the right partner and a hefty dose of compromise. But the point is that you’re only seeing a sliver of who someone is on a date, and as such, it’s too difficult to accurately assess whether you’re a good match.
“It takes time to show one’s true colors and while you might be walking away from a first date thinking that you found your future wife or husband, you have to be patient,” explains Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com.
Not to mention, what you learn about someone on a date often represents a very small fraction of what’s actually going on in their life. For example, Sullivan notes that your date might still be hung up on their ex, considering a job offer in another state, or healing from a painful breakup — all things that could negatively impact their ability to start a relationship with you. This is another reason why, no matter how optimistic you feel about your date, you can’t guarantee that it will lead to a long-term romance.
Still, both experts agree that there are ways to tell if you’re compatible with someone after one date. According to Winter, you’ll feel a sense of calmness afterward.
“You won’t feel insecure, so you won’t be replaying your every statement and wondering if you made the right impression,” she says. “And you won't feel the need to monitor or edit your communication style for fear you'll look too eager.”
Winter adds that you won't likely hesitate to reach out and thank them for a nice night because when a date goes well, it boosts your confidence.
The bottom line is, there’s no way to know for sure if you’re headed for relationship territory after a single date, no matter how stellar things went. That’s because there are too many unknowns at play and until you have been able to get to know someone on a deeper level, it’s impossible to get a good read on whether you’re a good fit or whether you’re on the same page about your dating goals. That said, it is possible to tell whether there’s potential to have a serious relationship, which is almost just as valuable. Because who knows? You may decide after another few dates that you don’t actually want a relationship with this person. And of course, you may also decide that they’re the dream bae you’ve long been searching for. The point is, you have the luxury of figuring that out on your own time and in your own way. And isn’t that a wonderful thing?